Author Topic: A few bottle harvest qusetions  (Read 838 times)

Offline egg

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A few bottle harvest qusetions
« on: June 18, 2015, 10:15:58 AM »
Hi

3 questions if I may, then details below.

1.  Do you you often see a krausen (or the remains of krausen, if you've missed it overnight) in any of the  steps of a bottle harvest? I haven't in my first two attempts so far: see below.

2.  Do your bottle harvest starters taste just the same, with as little sourness, as when you make starters from a lab vial? Mine haven't, yet.  I do not decant between steps, if that affects things there.

3.  Is it possible that my second 250ml step, currently on the go, has finished it's growth phase and started to clear a little within 9 hours?

I currently have 250ml of ~1.030 on the go, stepped up from 50ml of 1.020 added to the last 1cm of a bottle of St Austell Proper Job.  I saw nothing in the 1st step apart from sustained turbidity for the first day or so followed by accelerated clearing.  Last night I proceeded to this second step regardless.  I noticed a little sourness in the residue of the fist step afterwards. 

Only 9 hours later I have a jar with a good layer of trub/yeast settled and the beer starting to clear at the top.  A swish around reveals noticeable off gassing.  There's no sign of krausen marks.

This is my third attempt to culture up some commercial bottle yeast.  The first was an ~8% Belgian of unknown age; failed - it got infected in an obvious way before it got going.  I think my first step was too heavy in any case.  The second was from the dregs of 3 bottles of a local brewery which I know to be the primary yeast, which got going well through the steps and plenty of yeast was visible in the final 1 litre stage, but there was just a little too much sourness in the taste for me to pitch it.  It looked fine.


Offline morticaixavier

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Re: A few bottle harvest qusetions
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2015, 12:58:45 PM »
are these sour beers you are culturing? if not then there shouldn't be any sourness.

Are you wiping with alcohol everything that the yeast or media might touch during the process?

Yes, A step from 50 ml to 250 ml could be finished before 9 hours are up.

Yeast populations double (in a perfect situation) in about 90 minutes until they hit the maximum capacity of the available medium. So assuming your 50ml step achieved maximum population density the step up to 250ml only provided for 2 doubling plus a bit. it could well have been done within 3.5 hours.

remember to provide plenty of o2 in your starter liquid (shake till it's mostly foam)
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: A few bottle harvest qusetions
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2015, 03:27:28 PM »
When I have cultured from a bottle I don't recall ever seeing kraesun in the bottle.  You will see increased sediment, as you noted.

I've never tasted a starter that tasted good.  Some of that sourness taste could come from the yeast in suspension.  Also, you probably haven't hopped the starter wort so it's not going to taste like your final beer will taste.

It's very possible that your first step is done.  Step it up.

If you're worried about the yeast you are culturing, maybe try it out first in a one-gallon batch to see if it's what you want.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline egg

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Re: A few bottle harvest qusetions
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2015, 04:53:52 PM »
Thanks both.  No, these are not sour beers!

My sanitary procedures have always been good enough for starters from vials and I am not aware of any infection in my last (say) 25 brews, a couple of which have been placed in a local competition and many have been sampled by a commercial brewer I know.  However, I do realise that this process tests sanitary procedure to a higher level.  I don't have any rubbing alcohol, but I have flamed the lip of the bottle and star-sanned the conical in which I've boiled the wort.  I have also kept a flame lit underneath any handling/transfer wherever possible.  Still, if there is sourness, it's getting there somehow.

The thing is, I think I am pretty careful with what I have to hand and I hear of many successful brews from bottle cultures by any number of homebrewers.  who can't all be achieving lab grade standards.  That is why I ask specifically whether you have noticed any difference in the taste/perceived purity of bottle cultured starters and lab vial starters.  I know what the latter should smell and taste like, for sure.  As Joe says, a small batch may not be a bad idea and I may over-brew enough this weekend to do a gallon separately.  Cheers

Offline duboman

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Re: A few bottle harvest qusetions
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2015, 09:12:07 PM »
With all the effort my question is did you research the beer to even verify the bottled yeast is the same yeast that's used to ferment the beer? Many breweries do use a different yeast to bottle condition.
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Offline egg

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Re: A few bottle harvest qusetions
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2015, 09:46:24 PM »
With all the effort my question is did you research the beer to even verify the bottled yeast is the same yeast that's used to ferment the beer? Many breweries do use a different yeast to bottle condition.

Yes!

Offline egg

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Re: A few bottle harvest qusetions
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2015, 05:21:13 PM »
Good news on this, I think! As Joe Sr. suggested I did a gallon (or so) batch and it's gone off really well.  My second step did not have any sourness after all and was decanted before going into a 1L starter, of which a small amount was pitched into this:



The rest of the batch is fermenting away nicely with WY1098 under better temperature control, but this is hopefully close enough.  Will be interesting to compare the two.  It's a hoppy Amarillo/Mosaic. 1.048

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: A few bottle harvest qusetions
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2015, 05:58:12 PM »
Cool.  Let us know how it turns out.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline egg

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Re: A few bottle harvest qusetions
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2015, 08:23:25 AM »
2 months on and I thought I'd better update this! In the meantime, I've toured the St Austell brewery (where I got offered a flask of yeast, though I was 400 miles from home!) and learned a few tweaks for next time.

I did a side by side of the results of the main batch with WY 1098 and the 3.5L I fermented with the PJ yeast.



This was not the most scientific test ever, by any means.  The resulting beers can be seen there, with the 'PJ beer' having far less chill haze than the 1098.  Both were chilled for the same amount of time prior to pouring and, of course, came from the same batch, receiving the same proportion of dry hops.  The haze subsided after half an hour or so in the glass.  [I got interrupted.]

The PJ attenuated slightly further than the 1098, despite me only pitching half the amount I intended from my starter.  This was a topic on general bottle harvesting so I will stop short of a full review, but there was still a little off taste present in the PJ beer that I was concerned about in the starter.  Not enough to ruin it, but something to be eliminated.  I will also pitch this strain bigger (upwards of 123g slurry per 23L) and cooler next time.

Overall, this was certainly encouraging enough for me to continue harvesting in the future.